Questions and Answers

CSA Questions & Answers

7 JUL 2001

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Q 8 - In the Scott Catalog, the value for CSA #8 and CSA #13 is much higher for a used stamp than for a mint stamp. Would you discuss this difference in catalog values and also comment on the fake cancels seen on these stamps?

A 8 - In the 2001 Scott USA Specialized Catalog, the 2c Red-Brown (CSA #8) is listed at $70.00 mint and $350.00 used. The 20c Green (CSA #13) is listed at $37.50 mint and $400.00 used. It is unusual but not unheard of for used stamps to be worth more than mint ones. This occurs based on the printing of the stamp and its actual use. The CSA #8 2c value first appeared in April 1863 and was printed specifically to be used to prepay the drop letter and circular rates. There was much less call for these stamps paying a rate not commonly used then there was for the common 10c letter rate stamps. Therefore, relatively few of these 2c stamps exist in legtimate used condition compared to the much larger quantity of available unused stamps. The same is true for the CSA #13 stamp first appearing in June 1863 whose 20c value payed a double weight rate. This stamp was also often used as small change paper currency rather than as postage. Hence a relatively few of these stamps saw legitimate postal usage. It is simply a question of supply and demand which accounts for this significant reverse difference in catalog value.

Because of this difference, it is enormously tempting for a somewhat dishonest person to apply a fake or forged cancel to a genuine unused stamp and then attempt to sell it off to an unsuspecting collector at a very great profit. Beware the fake and forged cancels on these two stamps as they are everywhere and very frequently turn up on E-Bay Auctions. Below are illustrated two examples of genuinely used CSA #8 stamps.

Genuine
Richmond, Va
Genuine
Mocksville NC

The rule that is used to determine whether a CSA #8 or CSA #13 stamp is genuinely used is that the postmark on the stamp must be identifiable as a legitimate known CSA town postmark. Pen-cancels which are too easily applied, smudge cancels which were never used in the Confederacy, and fancy geometric cancels which cannot be verified and were not known to have been used in the Confederacy do not count as genuine used stamps and should NEVER be purchased as a legitimately used stamp. The cancel that sometimes causes confusion on the CSA #8 stamp is a Grid. Many drop letters using the 2c Red-Brown were simply and legimately cancelled with a grid and not a town mark. However, an off-cover stamp with a grid cancel is too easily faked and cannot be verified as a legitimate usage. Therefore the grid cancel unless it is on a full cover must also be put into the category of "suspect" cancels as it cannot be proven otherwise. Below are several examples of CSA #8 stamps with fake or suspect cancels.

CSA #8 with Fake or Suspect Cancels

Everything that was said above for the CSA #8 2c Red-Brown stamp can also be applied directly to the CSA #13 20c Green stamp with the exception of the Grid cancel. Grids were rarely used on the 20c Green stamp but there are a few known covers with an army grid cancel. However, any CSA #13 off-cover stamp with a grid cancel should be viewed with suspicion. Below are illustrated two examples of genuine used CSA #13 stamps followed by examples of stamps with fake or suspect cancels. The CSA #13 stamp was most commonly used in Richmond.

Genuine
Richmond, Va
Genuine
Richmond, Va

CSA #13 with Fake or Suspect Cancels

Occasionally, CSA #13 was used as a pair to pay either a 4x rate or to pay the 40c Trans-Mississippi Rate. Such legimately used off-cover pairs are very scarce and have a 2001 catalog value of $900.00. Unused pairs are relatively common, so beware the CSA #13 used pair. Many exist with fake cancels. Below are illustrated a genuine used pair and a pair with a fake cancel.

Genuine
Enterprise, Miss
Fake
Charleston SC

It is always a good idea to have the more expensive items, particularly the ones where a great many fakes exist, examined and certified by one of the major certifying committees.

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